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Full text of "An address on church music"

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ADDRESS 



CHURCH MUSIC, i^^^ 



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•: ^ LO^VELL MASON 



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MASON & LAW, 23 PARK ROW, 
BOSTON: J. P. JEWETT & CO. 

1851. 






JOHN A. GRAY, 

PRIUTBR, 

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(let Dominum." ine siTmrH5Tffiie lelL isnTTTTTS^^WlWTii the right, 
and bears the inscription, " Laus Deo^ The scroll on the revei'se is occu- 
pied by an elegantly engraved church organ. The shield on its right is 
occupied by a music book, handsomely executed, bearing the inscription, 
" II. k H. SocT. Collection, 1822." this being the title of the first book 
of church music published by Mr. Mason. The other shield bears a simi- 
lar book, engraved with the words, " Cantica Laudis, 1850." This is 
the title of the last book published by Mr. Mason. 

The vase cost about |200, and as we before remarked is a beautiful 
specimen of elaborately wrought and highly finished silver ware." 



lllxtM, 



Fellow Choir-Memhers, Pupils and Friends : 

" The circumstances under which we are assembled seem to 
say to us, " One generation passeth away and another cometh ;'' 
" the places that now know us shall know us no more;" even 
though life be continued, its occupations may change, and the 
dearest connections and friendships are uncertain and inse- 
cure. We are, indeed, taught these lessons by daily occur- 
rences, and he who has not learned that there is no stabihty in 
worldly pursuits, nor permanence in worldly pleasures, has 
made but little progress in human experience. But when, 
looking back upon the past, we meet as we now^ meet, know- 
ing that we can never come together again under like circum- 
stances, we can hardly prevent thoughts in relation to our 
condition and prospects most solemn and affecting. I have 
often looked upon a season of severe illness as a most im- 
portant event in one's life, compelling seriousness and medita- 
tion ; and so, also, occasions like the present can hardly fail 
to bring one to a momentary pause, to reflection and self-ex- 
amination. "Where am I? where have I been? where am I 
going? are questions deeply important, which naturally arise 
in the mind, and from which there seems to be no escape. 



Were it proper, it would be pleasant to dwell upon such a 
train of tliought as this, and to press it home upon every one 
present ; but it comes not within the sphere of a music teacher 
to do this ; it rather belongs to him who, bearing the sacred 
office, teaches, on holy day, of life, death and immortality. 
Besides, a different course has been suggested, and is ex- 
pected on this occasion. 

Having been engaged for more than forty years in teaching 
and leading the music of the Church, (nearly twenty-five ot 
which have been spent in this city,) and having (principally on 
account of ill health) felt it to be a duty to withdraw from 
these labors, which have been so steadily pursued, because 
so ardently loved, kind friends and fellow-laborers have ap- 
pointed this meeting ; ^Aey, who have been to me in my weak- 
ness as were the unshorn locks of the son of Manoah to the 
champion of Israel, have called me before you on this occa- 
sion, and have suggested that the topic shall be the state and 
progress of Music in this vicinity, during the last quarter of a 
century. 

I can only glance at a few c/ the more prominent points ; 
and this I shall do mostly by a statement of facts, leaving my 
hearers to make the contrast between Psalmody as it was at 
the commencement of that period, and as it now is ; but 
before I proceed, I will allude to some previous essays at 
reformation. 

It is now somewhat more than fifty years since an attempt 
was made on the part of several clergymen — 'One of whom, 
venerable and beloved, still lives, (Rev. Dr. Dana of Newbury- 
port) — to rid the churches of the miserable musical trash which, 
in the form of tunes, then almost universally prevailed, and 
to bring in a better, though an older style of church music. 
This effort was in a considerable degree successful, and intro- 
duced partial reform in some congregations. 



The choir of the then youthful and enterprising Park-street 
Church, under the direction of its able leader, Mr. Elnathan 
Duren, was also a pioneer in the good work. Rejecting the 
worthless tunes which then prevailed, and substituting for 
them the better style which had been resuscitated and re- 
published, the influence of this choir was excellent and exten- 
sive. From this choir, too, in a great degree, sprang up the 
Handel and Haydn Society. This institution was organized 
in 1815 ; and although in its performances it had but little ref- 
erence to Psalmody, yet its influence upon musical taste was 
immediately and extensively felt. The Messiah of Handel 
and the Creation of Haydn were now heard for the first time 
in Boston, and such select or miscellaneous oratorios or con- 
certs of excellent music were performed, as had a direct ten- 
dency to advance musical knowledge, and to lead to truth in 
musical taste. 

Some ten years after the organization of the Handel and 
Haydn Society, or about a quarter of a century ago, a few 
young men became convinced that some special efforts were 
due to the cause of Psalmody. They were satisfied that for 
some reason or other the legitimate devotional eflects of song 
in the house of God were not fully realized, and that it was 
not made, as it ought to be, a means of spiritual edification. 
These persons were not professional musicians, nor were all 
of them choir-members or chorus-singers. They were influ- 
enced by no special love for musical art or science, nor by any 
mercenary motives, but took up the subject as a matter of 
religious privilege and duty. Nor did they regard the subject 
as beneath their notice or dignity, nor as inconsistent with 
their character as religious men. They did not excuse them- 
selves by the plea that they could not sing, or that they had 
not learned music ; but feeling that they, themselves, had 
something to do in the matter, they gave it the necessary 



8 

time, met together for consultation, and made the personal 
efforts and the pecuniary offerings which seemed to be re- 
quired ; and this notwithstanding they were also deeply 
interested and actively engaged in the various benevolent 
enterprises of the day. They thought that Psalmody should 
not be an isolated thing, a mere musical exercise, separate, 
distinct, and having little or nothing to do with the spirituality 
of worship ; but that it should be regarded as a part of the 
service, and as that part which, of all others, ought most to 
draw out, revive, and quicken the affections. 

I do not know of any company of young men, or of old 
ones, who are now thus engaged. I do not know of any 
church where there seems to be an intelligent and general 
desire to experience the religious effects of church music. 
Money is indeed more freely given now than formerly ; the 
knowledge of music has much increased, tunes are better, 
and all the outward circumstances of the service have been 
improved ; but, while these wells of salvation have been thus 
widened and deepened, and while all men have wherewith 
to-obtain the waters, where are they who thirsting draiv^ that 
they may drink and be refreshed ? 

It will be observed that they of whom I speak directed 
their attention to the subject of Church Music, and not to that 
of mere musical improvement. They were, indeed, lovers 
of music, and friendly to its general cultivation ; but it was 
in music as directly connected with religious worship, that 
they desired to awaken an interest and exert an influence. 

It is often from want of a proper practical understanding 
of this distinction, if we err not, that efforts professedly for 
improvement in Psalmody fail of accomplishing their end ; 
and sometimes sacred music societies, and church choirs too, 
professedly aiming at improvement in church music, stop 
short of this, and are satisfied with mere musical progress or 



gratification. Musical Societies are generally made up of 
musical men ; and if religioas men are included, they are 
there musically and not religiously. We are not to look then 
to mere musical societies for all that is needed to advance 
the cause of church music. On the other hand, where 
churches, or associations of religious persons as such, are will- 
ing or desirous of doing what they can in this work, they 
often fail for want of musical knowledge. Both musical 
knowledge and religious ininciple and feeling are equally ne- 
cessary to success in the well-ordering and conducting of the 
music of worship. 

One of the immediate results of the efforts of which we 
have spoken, was the removal^ of him who now addresses 
you to this city, and the comnriencement of his labors as 
teacher and conductor of church music. These labors, so 
far as they relate to the charge of the music on the Sabbath, 
have been connected with different churches as follows : 

Two years and a half, divided between the Essex street, 
Hanover street, and Park street churches, then under the 
pastoral care of Rev. S. Green, Rev. Dr. Lyman Beecher, 
and Rev. Dr. Edward Baecher; fourteen years in Bowdoin 
street church, under the pastoral care of Rev. Dr. Lyman 
Beecher and Rev. Hubbard Winslow; and seven and a half 
years in Central church, under the pastoral care of Rev. Wm. 
M. Rogers and Rev. Geor^je Richards. 

It is a matter of grateful recollection that, in all my inter- 
course with these gentlemen, whether official or of a more 
private and social character, there has never been an unkind 
word spoken; nor do I believe that an unkind thought has 
ever arisen to interrupt the perfect harmony that has always 
existed between the pastor and the precentor. 

The circumstances were now most favorable for improve- 
ment in church music, and indeed for improvement in any 
2 



10 

thing connected with the progress of religious things ; for tiie 
Hanover (now Bowdoin) street church had been recently or- 
ganized, and never had there been before in the city such a 
body of young men brought together in church relationship. 
The Dr, Beecher, too, (who, thank God, has not yet finished 
his work on earth,) had been called, and had just entered 
upon his course of ministerial labor; and there was a prompt- 
ness, zeal, and activity around him, a coming up to his sup- 
port, aiding, cheering, sustaining, which, together with the 
pastor's wakefulness and energy, insured success. The graces 
of Christians were revived, their activity quickened, and 
their expectations enlarged. Glorious things had been 
spoken of Zion, and there was a strong desire that her harps 
should be taken down from the willows, and tuned anew to 
songs of penitence and praise. There is no danger of church 
mijsic, when there is an active state of the religious affections, 
though scTie degree of musical knowledge is always neces- 
sary to guide the taste. With the degree of musical know- 
ledge and taste now existing in the community, I think it may 
be safely said, that nothing is wanting to the prosperity of 
this cause but deep religious feelings for where this is, songs 
of praise must be also ; heaven itself could not exist without 
them. 

But it is time that I should point out some particular 
things connected, not so much, perhaps, with the spirit of 
sacred song, as with musical knowledge and taste, as they 
existed at that time. I have already spoken of the Handel 
and Haydn Society ; but much as had been done by this now 
venerable society, (for a musical society is venerable and 
gray-headed at thirty-six,) and notwithstanding the great im- 
provement which it had made in the performance of music, 
there were certain deficiencies or deformities, even in its con- 
cert performances, which would now be regarded as altoge- 
ther inexcusable, even in an humble church choir. 



11 

For example, the soprano was always led off", and irj a 
great degree sustained, by tenor voices, and a certain num- 
ber of men were appointed to the office of soprano leaders* 
The women (I like the old Bible w^ord) could not tell when 
to take up a fugal point, or where to carry it, or when it 
should stop ; nor could they strike the difficult or easy inter- 
vals, w^ith certainty, without aid; but, as in things pertaining 
to common life, where it is right, so in chorus-singing, w^here 
it is NOT RIGHT, did they look up to man for guidance and 
support. But this disagreeable effect of a soprano by tenor 
voices an octave lower than the true pitch, inverting the har- 
mony, producing forbidden progressions, perverting the mean- 
ing of the passage, and often "growling down in the region of 
the base," Vv'as not appreciated or felt, for there was a lack of 
musical knowledge. 

Again, the alto of women^s voices, now universal, was 
then unknovv^n. No woman sung the alto ; such a thing had 
not been heard of. The alto, when there was any, was sung 
by men's voices ; but as there were only two or three men 
who attempted to sing this part, its effect was almost lost to 
the chorus. 

The number of chorus-singers was small in comparison to 
wdiat it now is. The Society included almost all the chorus- 
singers in the town who could read music, and certainly 
some who could not read music, and yet the number of voices 
seldom exceeded a hundred. 

But now, while this Society consists of some two hundred 
and fifty members, we have also the Musical Education 
Society, equally large, besides many smaller associations 
and singing-clubs, meeting frequently for the practice of 
Handel, Mozart, Beethoven and Mendelssohn. 

Church choirs were still more imperfect ; and this with re- 
spect to their organization, to the adequate number of voices, 



12 



to the proper balance of the parts, and even to the existence 
of those parts ; for as the alto of women's voices was not 
known, and as there were but very few men w^ho ever at- 
tempted to suig the part, it was most generally omitted, so 
tijat there were seldom but three parts, and often but two 
attempted in a chorus. 

Tlie trehle in the church choirs, as in the Handel and 
Haydn Society, w^as sung in whole or in part by men's 
voices, and the tenor was often sung by women's voices, 
thus inverting the order of nature, and separating, by two 
full octaves, those who were made to go hand in hand, helps 
meet lor one another, in chorus form, as in domestic life. 

Again, in respect to modulation or .change of key, it may 
be remarked that it received from vocalists but Yil\\e jpractical 
attention ; so that in a change from thekey of C to that of G, 
(for example,) the tone F sharp would not be given by the 
voices, but, while the instrumentalists struck F sharp, the 
vocalists would sing F, thus producing a chord so dissonant 
as to cause the nerves of the most insensible to the jargon of 
unequal vibrations to tremble. 

Again, the condition of church music presents a very dif- 
ferent appearance at the present day from what it did twenty- 
five years ago, in respect to accompaniment. The accompa- 
niment then, in most churches, was that of single-stringed or 
wind instruments. The Episcopal, and several of the Uni- 
tarian churches, had organs. The Old South congregation, 
too, had procured their fine, large instrument; but, with this 
exception, there was no organ in the Orthodox Congrega- 
tional, Baptist, Methodist, Universalist, or other churches. 
Nor was the piano-forte, as an instrument for the aid of 
choir-practice, then known, not a single vestry being fur- 
nished with the instrument now common to almost all, and 
regarded as an almost necessary piece of church furniture.. 



13 

Again, with respect to the singing at social religious meet- 
ings, in the lecture-room or vestry, the change has not only 
been great but highly satisfactory ; for at the time to which 
we refer, it was common on such occasions to attempt a choir 
performance. I have seen some eight or ten persons rise 
when the hj-mn was given out, and with pitch-pipe or tuning- 
fork and singing-books in hand, attempt what might be in 
truth regarded as the burlesque choral service of a social 
reh'gious meeting. Happily the singing on all such occasions 
has now become congregational ; and T cannot but add, happy 
will it be, when to a much greater extent than at present, in 
connection with a choir, this good old form of the service of 
song shall be renewed, and prevail in the more dignified and 
formal assembly for j^ublic worship on the Sabbath. Then 
will Church Music arise in her strength and beauty, when all 
the people shall open their mouths and speak forth the grati- 
tude of their hearts in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs 
unto the Lord. 

There has been another change, perhaps greater than all ; 
which, though it be less directly connected with church 
music, must not be omitted. I refer to music among chil- 
dren. It is not too much to say that twenty-five years ago, 
singing among children, as a common thing, was unknown in 
the country. There were a few who, with remarkable ear 
and voice, had given some attention to the subject, or rather 
who, without having given attention to it, were singers ; some, 
who, like the bird in Jenny Lind's song, sang without know- 
ing why the}^ were singing, but who still must be singing — 
nature's singing, spontaneous, and not to be suppressed ; — 
but children did not generally sing, nor was it supposed to 
be possible to teach them, or that they had the abihty to 
sing. 

On this subject I feel particularly interested ; and as I think 



14 

I may humbly claim to be, in some sense, the father of sing- 
ing among the children in ihis country, I may be permitted 
briefly to touch upon a few of the leading points in its his- 
tory. 

Knowing by experience the value of an alto of children'' s 
voices in a church choir, and finding that this part was not 
usually sung or even attempted in the Boston choirs, it be- 
came an immediate object to train a class of boys and girls 
for it. Hence the first children's singing-school. And with 
the exception of the teaching a few children the elements of 
music in connection with writing, in the writing academy of 
Mr. N. D. Gould, in Franklin street, and the few Jenny 
Lind's bird-like children who occasionally found their way 
into the adult singing-schools, these were the first efforts in 
children's music. The class did not at first consist of more 
than six or eight, but these acted at once voluntarily as mis- 
sionaries ; and the increase was rapid, until the room was 
filled. This class, which afterwards, in a large place, in- 
creased to five or six hundred, was continued gratuitously 
for six or eight years, or until it Was taken up by the Boston 
Academy of Music, by which society it was sustained until 
music was introduced into the grammar schools of the city. 

Soon after these beginnings of music among the children 
had been made, the Rev. William C. Woodbridge, the well- 
known geographer, and editor of the Annals of Education, 
the warm friend of education and of music in schools, arrived 
in this country after several years' residence in Germany, 
where he had been qualifying himself to act with more en- 
lightened views and a more extended influence upon the 
educational interests of his native land. 

Mr. Woodbridge, although he had never learned music 
himself, was the warm friend of singing among children, and 
immediately commenced efforts for extending it here. In 



15 

1S30 he delivered a lecture in Boston before the * 'American 
Institute of Instruction," in which he advocated the intro- 
duction of music into the common schools. Through his 
efforts, many gentlemen became interested in the subject, and 
soon several of the most distinguished private schools adopted 
it. He brought with him from Germany the books explain- 
ing the inductive system of teaching, then wholly unknown 
here, and even now but little understood ; and also various 
collections of songs for children, by Nageli, and other philan- 
thropic laborers in the cause in Germany and Switzerland. 
These songs he helped to translate, and in 1831, " The Juve- 
nile Lyre," the first children's music-book, was published ; 
concerts, or exhibitions of juvenile singing, soon followed ; 
and at length, on the Sth of January, 1833, and growing di- 
rectly out of these exertions, was formed the '' Boston 
Academy of Music." The general object of this society 
was to promote music and universal musical. education. Its 
truly disinterested and benevolent character will not be 
questioned by any one who knows that the following named 
gentlemen constituted its first government :— 

JACOB ABBOTT, Fresident 

DAVID GREEIir, Vice-President. 

GEORGE WM. GORDON, Recording Secretary. 

W. C. WOODBRIDGE, CoiTesponding Secretary. 

JULIUS A, PALMER, Treasm-er. 

Daniel Notes, Wm. J. Hubbard, '^ 

Bela Hunting, Geo. H. Smelling, 

Horatio M, Willis, Benjamin Perkins, )- Counsellors. 

J. S. WiTHiNGTON, Moses Grant, j 

George E. Head, Wm. W. Stone, J 

Gentlemen, mercantile, professional and literary, who, 
though not themselves musicians, and having no pecuniary 
interest in the object whatever, enlisted voluntarily in the 
cause of musical education. 

It may be proper to remark here, that while the original 
design of the young men whose exertions have been noticed 



16 

extended to church music only, the representations of Mr. 
Woodbridge, tlie great interest now felt in children's music, 
and other considerations, had so far influenced them, and 
also the other gentlemen who united m the formation of the 
Academy, that the mstitution was made to embrace a more 
extensive field than the one department. The subject was 
discussed, and it was thought best to organize a society 
which should contemplate general musical improvement and 
education. 

In 1835, Mr. Samuel A. Eliot accepted the Presidency of 
the Academy. Entering, as he did, upon the duties of the 
office with the zeal, and pursuing them with the wisdom, 
energy and perseverance for which he is so highly distin- 
guished, it is not surprising that in 1838, Mr. Eliot being 
Mayor of the city, and chairman of the School Committee, 
music was introduced as one of the regular studies into the 
public grammar schools of Boston. 

The example of Boston has been followed far and wide, 
so that now music is taught in many public schools through- 
out the Union. The result already is, that a mukitude of 
3^oung persons have been raised up, who, to say the least, 
are much better able to appreciate and to perform music than 
were their fathers ; and experience proves that large classes 
of young persons, capable of reading music with much accu- 
racy, may be easily gathered in almost any part of New-Eng- 
land, or indeed of the United States. 

There are those who were pupils when music was intro- 
duced into the Boston schools, who are now organists and 
conductors of church music ; and those who, having passed 
firom the Latin School through a regular collegiate course of 
study, are now devoting themselves to the profession of music. 
The music at the late city celebration of the 4th of July, by 
a choir from the Public Schools, was conducted by one who, 



IT 

but a few years ago was a boy, singing and leading in a 
similar choir, under the direction of the speaker. When 
music was first introduced into the schools, there was but 
one person who could be found who would attempt to teach, 
and for several years but one other engaged in the work with 
success ; but now there are many young men — as many as 
there are schools, and more too — prepared and willing to teach. 
May the spirit of Pestalozzi, of Nageli, and of Woodbridge 
rest upon them all ! 

There is not time to speak of other measures of the 
Academy. It is still living, though, since its children have 
grown up around it, as it never desired to exhibit itself, it 
has gradually retired from most of its active labors, leaving 
younger ones to carry on the work which it commenced. 
The Musical Education Society, the Musical Fund Society, 
Music in the Schools, Musical Conventions, and Teachers' 
Classes, are among its legitimate offspring, and are its legal 
heirs and representatives. The inheritance which they may 
possess is not one of silver and gold, but it is a spirit of uni- 
versal musical improvement. This they are bound to receive 
and cherish. Be it theirs, children and children's children 
for ever. 

There are other topics connected with the progress of 
music during the past twenty-five years, and with its pres- 
ent state and prospects, on which it might be pleasant and 
useful to dwell, but these must be omitted ; and I will only 
trespass longer upon your patience by a few words more 
immediately connected with the present occasion. 

I thank you, fellow choir-members, pupils and friends, for 
this unexpected testimony of your confidence and affection. 
To those who have been my pupils I would say, '"' You are 
my jewels, "^^ I love to think of you, and of your lessons ; of 
the eagerness with which you would strive to overcome the 
3 



18 

difficulties that presented themselves in the clusters of notes 
upon the blackboard, and of the joy that beamed upon your 
countenances when you first felt that you had conquered ; of 
your crowding around your teacher to take hold of his hand, 
and to catch words of encouragement and approbation from 
his lips. I love to think of your bouquets and new year's 
presents. I love your bows, and greetings, and kindly words, 
as I now meet you from time to time. These kindly words 
and cheerful smiles of former pupils are green s^ots in a 
teacher's li[e, fragrant and refresfdng, 

I love to hum over the beautiful little songs which I have 
so often heard you sing, when the Children's Singing-schools 
were first estabHshed—" Charming Little Valley," "Little 
Cooling Meadow Spring," " Oh, Come to the Garden," and 
many others. I love these songs more and more, the older 
I grow ; and I doubt not, the longer I live, in the possession 
of my mental faculties, the more I shall delight in them. 

If the songs of children are pure in sentiment and truth- 
ful in musical taste, they will live for ever. I doubt not that 
the spirit of these little joyful songs of children will dwell in 
the hearts of the good, and help to swell the subUme chorus 
of the heavenly world. 

Many of us have been associated, and some for a long 
time as choir-members. We shall not soon forget the pleas- 
ant hours we have spent together ; neither the preparatory 
meetings, nor the Sabbath assemblies. 

The Saturday evening choir-meetings will long dwell in 
our memory, and we shall often recall the hours devoted to 
musical practice, or preparation for the Sabbath. The ves- 
try cheerfully lighted, the happy arrival greetings, the seats 
arranged and books distributed in choral form, the call to 
order, the seating, the first tones of the instrument, the page, 
the tune, the time, the song blending harmonious; the sacred 



19 

lyric defining the emotions already awakened, the various 
forms of musical expression — now the energetic, bold, and 
sforzando, exciting to joy, victory and exultation ; and now 
the cantabile, legato, and sostenuto, calming to gentleness, 
quietness and repose ; the piano, the forte, the crescendo, the 
diminuendo, the cadence, the close, — -all shall send a thrill of 
joy in the recollection through the soul. 

The criticisms and fault-finding, too; the errors pointed out, 
illustrated and caricatured ; the corrections, reproofs and 
rebukes, though cutting and severe, yet well deserved and 
well received, shall be a memento of the love and confidence 
which has dwelt in the choir. Nor shall the exercises of 
more direct praise and prayer be forgotten, in which we 
have never omitted to unite when the hour of our so- 
cial singing had passed away, and which, we believe, have 
often aided in preparation for the solemn assembly of the 
Sabbath. 

And surely the remembrance of the Sabbath, with its sup- 
plications, its praises, and its teachings, shall not be lost. 
The gathering of the people, old and young, parents and 
children, teachers and pupils, friends and strangers, cheerful 
and happ3^, mournful and afiBicted ; the man of God entering 
the sacred desk, the first burstings of the deep diapason chorus, 
when the full organ proclaims that God is here, and that the 
hour of worship has arrived, summoning the spirit to com- 
munion with its Maker; all these and other circumstances are 
deeply engraven upon memory's tablet, and associated with 
some of the precious moments of our existence. 

And then, after the prayers and Scripture readings, and 
when the choir service has been announced, as ministers of 
the songs of Zion we have risen, and lifted up the high chorus 
of praise and adoration. How often, under such circumstan- 
ces, upon the commingled tones of our voices, have the hearts 



20 

of pious worshippers ascended to the throne of the Eternal, 
blending with the Hallelujahs of the redeemed ! 

Were our hearts there too ? for it is fittino; that this also 
should be remembered. Whose conscience does not reprove 
him? Whose conscience does not tell him that he has too 
often dwelt upon the time, the tune, the hymn, the expression, 
the mere technicals or mechanism of the service, to the ex- 
clusion of the spirit of the song i I do not suppose that 
choir-members are more guilty in this respect than others : 
the members of the congregation are equally in fault ; nor is 
the singing the only exercise in public worship which too 
often degenerates into a mere formal offering, but both in the 
prayers and in the praises, in the choir and in the pew, are 
we too apt to rest in the mere external, and lose the reality 
of worship. 

Let there be remembrances then that shall be mingled with 
sorrow and contrition ; remembrances, whose tones of peni- 
tence shall cry for pardon, as well as those whose grateful 
songs shall speak of joy and gladness. 

There are but few circumstances which I can call to my 
remembrance, connected with my experience as Conductor 
of a Choir, which do not afford pleasure in the review. I 
speak not now of the spiritual, for here indeed there is abun- 
dant reason for confession and self-abasement; but I refer 
rather to the choir organization, and its social condition. I 
can truly assert that my own experience contradicts the com- 
mon saying that of all organizations, a singing choir is the 
most difficult to control. I have not found it so. I do not 
mean to say that the stream has been always equally smooth 
and gentle in its fiowings, but I have always found it possible 
to calm the agitated waters ; and whenever I have failed to 
control the choir, it has been because I have failed to control 
myself. Learn a lesson from this, ye who conduct choirs ! 



21 

Control yourselves, and you will be able to control your choirs 
also. It is not true that choir-members are worse than others, 
and there are (considering the circumstances) as many bick- 
erings, and disputings, and wranglings among the lawyers and 
the doctors, and the — I had almost said — ministers, as there 
are among the singers. 

It is not to be denied, however, that the members of a choir 
have their pecuhar trials and temptations, and it is especially 
difficult in a work like theirs to keep the heart* They need 
aid and sympathy, and they should often be remembered and 
be encouraged, not only by their immediate friends, but by all 
who love and desire the welfare of Zion's songs. 

But I must not prolong these remarks. Let us ever be glad 
when we hear the exhortation, " O come, let us sing unto the 
Lord ; let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation." 

Let Pastors, Choristers, and People, learn to regard this 
part of the Sabbath-day services as one of delightful and 
solemn worship, and let us all so engage in it from time to 
lime, as not to incur the guilt of those who draw nigh unto 
God with their mouths and honor him with their lips, but 
w^hose hearts are far from him. 




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